The U.S. is the world’s largest jailer.
WHY TRAUMA INFORMED YOGA?
In short, yoga and meditation work.
We urgently need to stop this cycle of repeated incarceration and offer programs that truly create wholeness, safety, and belonging. We are proud to be part of a movement that encourages us to think and act differently, to reimagine our criminal justice system. Our trauma-informed and resilience-building methodology offers practical inner tools people can use anywhere. It works.
In addition to the physical benefits and improved overall well-being, yoga and meditation have been scientifically proven to:
- Drastically reduce rates of recidivism, people who practice yoga and meditation behind bars are less likely to return to prison once they have finished their sentence
- Only 8% of individuals who took 4 or more yoga classes returned to prison, compared with a national average of 60% recidivism.
- Reduce depression, anger, and anxiety, often a root cause of destructive behavior and drug use.
- Be an effective adjunctive therapy during treatment for drug addiction, which is a co-factor in many of our students’ incarceration.
Our definition of Trauma-Informed Yoga
We define trauma-informed yoga as offering accessible embodiment practices that encourage participants to reclaim their agency through choice, inclusion, and nervous-system regulation. Rather than merely addressing emotional and physical symptoms of trauma, our classes focus on well-being, possibility, and choice. Our instructors have sensitivity and awareness of trauma, and understand its impact on the entire mind-body system. They fully integrate knowledge into their teaching practices to move towards well-being, and actively resist re-traumatization.
“Trauma sensitive yoga can be incredibly powerful in the healing of a woman who has experienced significant hardship whether incarcerated or not.”
– Staff member at Washington Corrections Center for Women, 2016
Yoga Behind Bars by the numbers
Students Reached Annually
People trained through YBB
Incarcerated Teachers Trained
Teach Behind Bars
WHERE WE TEACH
18 Facilities across 13 Washington State counties.
Clallam Bay Corrections Center
Monroe Correctional Complex
Washington State Reformatory
Stafford Creek Corrections Center
King County Correctional Facility
Maleng Regional Justice Center
Washington Corrections Center for Women
Federal Detention Center, SeaTac
King County Juvenile Detention Center
Echo Glen Children’s Center
Denney Juvenile Justice Center
Airway Heights Corrections Center
Washington State Penitentiary
Coyote Ridge Corrections Center
Washington Corrections Center
Whatcom County Juvenile Court
Washington Corrections Center in Shelton
Whatcom County Juvenile Detention Center
Books, blogs, and sources we love
- US News’ How Yoga Helps Survivors of Trauma
- Yoga Helps At-Risk Girls Cope with Trauma, a Georgetown Law report
- The Future of Healing: Shifting From Trauma Informed Care to Healing Centered Engagement
- WNYC’s How America Can Cut the Prison Population in Half
- Upworthy’s – The Numbers Behind Why America Has So Many People in Prison
- ACLU’s School-to-Prison Pipeline Infographic
- Fact Sheet: How Bad is the School to Prison Pipeline?
- A White Yogis 9-Step Guide towards Action for Racial Justice in Ferguson and Beyond
- The Vera Project 2018 “The New Dynamics of Mass Incarceration” report
- Overlooked: Women in Jail, by the Vera Institute
- Reimagining Prison, by the Vera Institute
- Life Cycles of Inequality, by Colorlines
- Frontline’s Life on Parole
- Michelle Alexander interview on Democracy Now
- Racial Inequality in the Criminal Justice System by learnliberty.org
- The War on Drugs and the War on Immigrants is Intertwined, by Colorlines